Parrotfish Spawning!!!

Akumal Travel Blog

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The Diving Coonrods.
The breeze didn't seem to have died any over night, but we were ready to get in the water and make the most of it.  This morning I had enchiladas de mole for breakfast.  Yum.  Plus refried black beans and rice!  That's what I'm talking about!

Today we would dive with Kendal and Tom, who we had met yesterday, as well as some other divers from Monterrey.  We got started more or less on time and headed for the reef.  Now, I want to make something clear.  Don't get me wrong about this whole timeliness deal.  Normally, I could care less if someone is running late, actually, I am used to it.  I expect it.  When it comes to diving though, an operation, whether 5 star or run as a Mom 'n' Pop place, should really make a point of getting divers in the water on time.
Blue chromis, juvenile Threespot damselfish, and a juvenile Yellowtail damselfish hangin in the current next to their Thin-leaf Lettuce coral shelter.
  This I say from experience.  Divers need time in between each dive to allow the Nitrogen that has built up in their blood from diving a chance to escape.  Most dive shops run a morning 2-tank dive and an afternoon 2-tank dive.  I'm not sure this shop was able to keep that schedule.  I'm just as laid back as the next guy, probably more so than most, but dive shops, in order to be profitable and diver friendly, should stay on top of these things.

I noticed immediately as we passed through the channel in the reef into the deeper water, that we would have much better visibility today.  Yesssss!  Wow what a difference 30 feet makes.  With 80-100 foot visibility, and blue blue water, we really felt like we were diving the Caribbean.
Looking towards Canon Point.
 

What's more, I saw something I've been dreaming of seeing for years now.  Since I started working in Belize and Palau I've been lucky enough to be involved in the monitoring of spawning aggregations of reef fish, specifically commercially important fish such as groupers and snappers.  I've done 30 or 40 or more dives that were focused solely on finding these aggregations and counting the numbers, sizes, and species of fish within them, and noting any spawning speficic behaviors.  Never before, however, had I actually observed gamete release.  Reef fish come together in these aggregations and start courting rituals that climax in a group of males and a single female leaving the aggregation and speeding vertically into the water column in order to simultaneously release a cloud of eggs and sperm that will become fertilized and float off with the currents, renewing the cylce of life.
Akumal reef.
  This happens quickly.  If you aren't watching closely you will miss it.  The time from their departure from the aggregation near the reef to the apex of their journey and back to the aggregation can happen in less than 5 seconds!  Seriously!  How's that for premature.....nevermind....Anyway, I ran across a small aggregation of Yellowtail parrotfish that happened to be right in the process of spawning!  I managed to take some pretty pitiful video of the event with my little point-and-shoot Sony.  Please do take a moment to watch the video, but beware, the actual gamete release only happens twice.  The first is right in the beginning, within the first 10 seconds, and the second is right around the middle of the video.  Again, it happens quickly, so watch closely for the commotion and the explosion that looks like a litte cloud left behind in the water, and please do forgive me for the poor quality.
Dinner at Lol Ha.
  Someday I will be able to afford better equipment!

This was a much better day of diving.  We continued with our ritual of napping after lunch, and getting out just in time for happy hour and snacks. 

That night we ate at Lol Ha Restaurant, which was right next to our hotel.  Mom really wanted to check it out because they were going to have Flamenco dancers.  We ended up eating with Kendal and Tom and enjoying the show.  It lasted for an hour and a half!  There were three women dancers and a man who was playing guitar and singing.  We had a great time and the food was very good.

I *heart* Mexico.
Reephboy says:
Thanks for visiting, Bill! I'm uploading that video as I write, so check it out here in a bit.
Posted on: Jun 18, 2008
oldschoolbill says:
Great Pics!!
Posted on: Jun 18, 2008
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The Diving Coonrods.
The Diving Coonrods.
Blue chromis, juvenile Threespot d…
Blue chromis, juvenile Threespot …
Looking towards Canon Point.
Looking towards Canon Point.
Akumal reef.
Akumal reef.
Dinner at Lol Ha.
Dinner at Lol Ha.
My dive buddies.
My dive buddies.
My dad and a Giant Barrel sponge.
My dad and a Giant Barrel sponge.
Mom with Giant Barrel sponges.
Mom with Giant Barrel sponges.
Hard and soft corals.
Hard and soft corals.
Dicks Reef.
Dick's Reef.
Lamarcks Sheet coral.
Lamarck's Sheet coral.
Barred hamlet.
Barred hamlet.
Azure Vase sponge.
Azure Vase sponge.
Red-lined parrotfish on an Akumal …
Red-lined parrotfish on an Akumal…
Sunshine at the safety stop.
Sunshine at the safety stop.
Akumal reef.
Akumal reef.
Caribbean reef.
Caribbean reef.
Coney.
Coney.
Akumal reef.
Akumal reef.
Good looking reef.
Good looking reef.
Bluehead and Lettuce coral.
Bluehead and Lettuce coral.
Corals and a chromis.
Corals and a chromis.
Neon goby and a Great Star coral.
Neon goby and a Great Star coral.
Akumal view.
Akumal view.
Relaxing at the Beach Bar.
Relaxing at the Beach Bar.
Canon Point.
Canon Point.
Que linda.
Que linda.
Mom and Dad.
Mom and Dad.
I recently made this horrible vid…
Akumal
photo by: E_Beth